Newsletter No. 123

NEWBIOINFORMATICSCENTRE TOPROMOTE LIFESCIENCES The Un i ve r s i ty takes the lead in bioinformatics by establishing the first bioinformatics centre in Hong Kong. Located on campus, the Hong Kong Bioinformatics Centre w i ll provide the technology and technical expertise necessary for making software on molecular biology and bioinformatics available to the biotechnology community in the territory. Using DNA information to study the relationship between genes and diseases for use in diagnostics and therapy, the centre will be a resourceful library of databases linking industry and academia. The centre is equipped with two high performance supercomputers, f i ve workstations, and staffed w i th a bioinformatics specialist and a system manager. Besides compiling and handling data on biotechnology, the centre will also assist in the development of related databases such as those of genetic diseases in the Chinese population. The establishment of the centre w i l l also facilitate research involving the large- scale sequencing of cardiovascular genes conducted by the University's Department of Biochemistry jointly with the Cardiac Gene Unit of the University of Toronto, and the China National Centre for Biotechnology Development of the State Science and Technology Commission of China. The methodology of this research can be extended to other disease models such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and rheumatic heart disease. The centre is established with grants from the University and the Hong Kong Industry Department totalling over HK$6 .6 m i l l i on. Of f i c i a t i ng at the opening ceremony on 27th February were Prof. Hui Yongzheng, vice-minister of the State Science and Technology Commission, and Mr. Francis Ho, director- general of industry of the Industry Department of the HKSAR. UGC Ch a i rman Des i gna te V i s i t s CU From left: Dr. Edgar Cheng, Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, and Prof. K.H. Lee on the presentation of a collection of brochures of business programmes to Dr. Cheng Dr. Edgar Cheng, chairman designate of the University Grants Committee, paid a visit to the University on 25th February. His v i s it began w i t h a breakfast meeting with the Council chairman and senior University officers at Dragon Lounge, du r i ng wh i ch a video on the University was shown. This was followed by presentations at various venues, by Profs. K.H. Lee, Japhet law, and Raymond Chiang for the Faculty of Business Administration and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business, by Dr. F.C. Chen for the Institute of Chinese Studies, by Prof. Kenneth Young for the Graduate School and the Research Committee, as we ll as by Profs. P.C. Ching, O.W. Lau, and Joseph Lee, for the Faculties of Engineering, Science, and Medicine respectively. Dr. Cheng's visit was rounded off with a guided tour of the Prince of Wales Hospital. IE Professor Predicts Growing Popularity of Videoconferencing I n a few years' time, videoconferencing will be as common as cellular phones today, according to Prof. Peter T.S. Yum, professor of information engineering. In his professorial inaugural lecture ' Mu l t i p o i nt Teleconferencing', delivered on 20th February at the Ho Sin-Hang Engineering Building, Prof. Yum discussed the various ways of setting up videoconferences, different videoconferencing services, the complexities of conferencing standards, issues related to implementation, the social impact of videoconferencing, as well as some technical problems and suggested solutions. Prof. Yum received his bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from Columbia University, New York. Before joining the University, he worked for Be ll Telephone Laboratories in the US and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Prof. Yum's research interests include packet switched networks, design and analysis of cellular networks, lightwave networks, and video distribution networks. He was appointed professor of information engineering in January 1995. Sympos i um Addresses Molecular Basis of Onco l ogy Dr. David Sidransky speaking at the symposium Over 10 cancer specialists from Hong Kong, Shanghai, the UK, and the US gave lectures on cancer genetics, molecular carcinogenesis, novel diagnostic molecular biological applications, and molecular-based therapeutics at the Third Annual Scientific Symposium of the Hong Kong Cancer Institute. The symposium, entitled 'The Molecular Basis of On c o l og y—A Meeting Point for Clinician and Scientist', was held on 25th February at the Prince of Wales Hospital. There were over 160 participants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. Guest speaker Dr. David Sidransky, director of the Head and Neck Cancer Research Division, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, spoke on 'From Microscopes to Microsatellites: the Molecular Detection of Cancer' for the Third Cheng Suen Man Shook Foundation Lecture. An important event in the field of oncology in Hong Kong, the symposium also formed part of the University's 35th anniversary celebration programmes.